DISClaimer Single Reviews (8/01/12)

There is zero major-label product in the country reviewing stack this week, but there’s still plenty of quality listening to be had.

Even if there were big-time stars on hand, I doubt that any could match the excellence of the new His and Hers CD by Joey + Rory and its lead track “Josephine.” This would be a Disc of the Day winner no matter what or who the competition was.

I am also happy to report that there are a number of promising newcomers with us today. They include Kris Gordon, J.D. Shelburne and our DisCovery Award winning band Cash Creek.

BRITT & BLAIRE/Young Summer
Writer: Blaire Hanks; Producer: Dean Scallan; Publisher: Coast of Del Mar, BMI; Mt. Juliet (615-288-4234 ext 101)
—They look like such nice young kids. I hate to be the one to tell them that they’re not yet ready to play ball in the Big Leagues.

FLYNNVILLE TRAIN/The One You Love
Writer: Doug Phelps/Fred Young/Richard Young; Producer: none listed; Publisher: I B Headed/Them Young Boys/Bug, BMI/ASCAP; Whiskey Bent (www.flynnvilletrain.com)
—Note that this is written by The Kentucky HeadHunters. The Flynnville boys’ performance of the dreamy ballad is appropriately languid and lovely. The slightly bluesy melody is another plus. Highly programmable.

CRIS CUDDY/The Boy From Beaumont
Writer: Cuddy; Producer: Cris Cuddy; Publisher: Cris Cuddy, SOCAN; Factor (Canada)(track) (www.criscuddy.com)
—Subtitled “The Kid from Bakersfield,” this title tune to Cuddy’s Canadian CD is a salute to George Jones and Merle Haggard. The musical setting has an oddly Tex-Mex vibe, which doesn’t have much to do with either of those legends. For that matter, neither does Cuddy’s singing style. But it all goes down smoothly.

JOEY + RORY/Josephine
Writer: Rory Feek; Producer: Gary Paczosa; Publisher: A Sling and a Prayer/Chrysalis One, ASCAP; Sugar Hill (track)
—Joey + Rory’s new His and Hers CD kicks off with this stirring, driving saga of a frightened Civil War soldier yearning for the wife and family he left behind. It will quicken your pulse, tickle your ears and fire your brain. Gary’s production is sonic excellence. Rory’s lead vocal just about rips your heart out. A mini masterpiece. Do your ears a favor and listen to this entire awesome album with no distractions.

KRIS GORDON/The Upside of Down
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Frio (www.krisgordon.net)
—Jaunty, relaxed and breezy, this has an undeniable charm. He’s nursing a busted heart, but getting by with the help of the band and the booze. The session playing is absolutely top drawer, and he has an earnest, winning, easy-to-like vocal style.

THE MARKSMEN QUARTET/Don’t Take Your Life
Writer: Lance Carpenter/Ricky Atkinson; Producer: Mark Wheeler; Publisher: Ricky Atkinson, BMI; Rural Rhythm (track) (www.marksmenquartet.com)
—The quartet takes on a honky-tonk waltz. In classic Southern-gospel fashion, it starts off slowly with a solo vocalist telling the tale of a would-be suicide, followed by full-throated harmonizing on the choruses. Redemptive, for sure. The Marksmen have been at this for some 40 years, so they certainly know how to deliver the goods by now.

CASH CREEK/It’s All About the Money
Writer: Joseph Harris/Donald Kees; Producer: Kimo Forrest & Chris Latham; Publisher: Sixteen Stars/Sony-ATV Acuff Rose, BMI; Omaha/Tristar (track) (www.cashcreekband.com)
—The title tune to the debut Cash Creek CD is a bluesy, dobro-laced, rocking social statement about lawyers, politics and hypocrisy. It is also very, very cool. Check these boys out.

AMY AMES/Do Drop In
Writer: Amy Ames/Eddie Hedges; Producer: Eddie Hedges; Publisher: Amy Ames/Eddie Hedges, BMI; Grand Channel (CDX) (www.amyames.com)
—The drummer sounds like he’s pounding on an aluminum frying pan. The band is shouting the lines loudly back at her. Perhaps they’re trying to drown out her pitch-challenged vocal.

LUCAS HOGE/Do What Makes You Feel Good
Writer: Lucas Hoge/Keesy Timmer/Corey Barker; Producer: Lucas Hoge & Chris Latham; Publisher: none listed, ASCAP/BMI; AHMG (CDX) (818-429-3655)
—The track is rollicking, with plenty of energetic guitar work. His voice isn’t particularly distinctive or memorable, but he gives the performance his all.

J.D. SHELBURNE/Farmboy
Writer: J.D. Shelburne/Bob Stewart; Producer: Greg Cole; Publisher: GiraffeKey, BMI; Star Base (CDX) (www.jdshelburne.com)
—He inherits his dad’s down-home values and is super happy about it. The track rocks, and he belts out his lyric like a pro. This has plenty of get-up-and-go, and the spelling of “F-A-R-M-B-O-Y” is ear catchingly clever.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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